Locals have a pet name for this sprawling northeastern Florida city and it’s “Jax” all the way. There’s always something to do and see in Florida’s largest city — whether you’re up for a day of racing at Bronson Motor Speedway, or sampling the beer on an Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour, or a visit to the science, art, or history museums — your agenda will be full.

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Getting Around is a Snap

Getting to the city is a cinch. Jacksonville International Airport, about 15 miles from the downtown core, is served a number of major airlines. Check out flights to Jacksonville from all major cities. Public transit from the airport to the downtown area is every hour. Jacksonville is also on the Amtrak and Greyhound routes. The city is cyclist friendly and biking is a great way to explore historic neighborhoods like Riverside, Murray Hill, Avondale, and San Marco. The local architecture there is grand and you would miss some of it by car.

Entertainment, Shopping Galore!

If tripping the light fantastic is your thing, there are a number of bars, pubs, and lounges for everyone’s tastes. Pete’s Bar is one of the city’s oldest, opening the day prohibition was repealed. Lynch’s Irish Pub on Jacksonville Beach is known for its animated atmosphere and great selection of brews. Besides all the boutiques for shopping, plan on visiting St. John’s Town Center — an open air mall with loads of shops and eateries. For a nice place to sit and cast your cares, check out The Landing, a shopping area along the St. Johns River.

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Wedding by the Sea

If you’re looking to soak up some culture as well as some sun, Jacksonville is the place to be. Its beaches aren’t nearly as crowded as those in the southern part of the state. For those romantic couples dreaming of wedded bliss, Jacksonville Beach would be just the spot for eloping! Jacksonville and the state will issue marriage licenses to non-Florida residents quickly and without a waiting period. Get hitched on the beach at sunset! For nature lovers, Jax has it all — the biggest park system in the United States with more than 80,000 acres, dozens of city parks, wetlands, marshes, and woods.

Affordable Accommodations

Jacksonville is rife with accommodations suited to every budget. You’ll get gorgeous views of St. John’s River at the Wyndham Jacksonville Riverwalk and moderately priced, comfortable accommodations. Or try the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville with its rooftop pool and hot tub — perfect after a long day of sightseeing and shopping. The 4-star Omni Jacksonville Hotel is close to Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Jacksonville Landing, Museum of Modern Art, and Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens.

Another nice hotel where you can base your stay is the Hampton Inn & Suites. Reasonably priced and close to attractions and amenities like Jacksonville Zoo, Adventure Landing, Jacksonville Beach Golf Club, and Adventure Landing, this hotel also has an indoor pool and offers free breakfast.

What do you think about Jacksonville? Any other places you’d like to travel to? Please share this post with other travelers!

Author bio: Diane Barton lives in the beautiful Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada. Her 30-plus-year career has consisted of senior reporter/editor gigs at various weekly and daily newspapers and magazines. When she isn’t busy writing, she enjoys traveling to unique destinations, cooking, photography, nature, singing, and frolicking on the beach with her two beloved mutts.